Henry Parkes born 27 May 1815 – 200 years ago today

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Henry Parkes born 27 May 1815 – 200 years ago today

Parkes by Roberts 1892On this day, 200 years ago, a baby boy was born to parents, Thomas and Martha in a small farm cottage in Canley, Stoneleigh Estate in the Midlands of England.  His name was Henry Parkes.

We know Henry today as Australia’s ‘Father of Federation’ and as NSW’s longest serving Premier.  We recognise his face from the portraits of Tom Roberts.

Although Parkes is best known for his advocacy of Australia’s Federation, he was in fact many things to many people, hero and villain in the personal and public aspects of his life.

In my next few entries, I’ll discuss who he was in more detail, his personal circumstances, the economic and social environments of England and Australia and the policy legacies we continue to enjoy.  He was a huge character in person and in action and we have a correspondingly huge amount to thank him for.

Today though, I simply want to pause to recognise his birth – Henry Parkes, born 27 May 1815, in the Moathouse, Canley on Stoneleigh Estate in Warwickshire, England.  Happy Birthday!

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